Parallel universes

Even in my small Japanese town, random places and objects remind me of Philadelphia. Here are some things I spotted in Kitami that make it feel a bit more like home…

Across the train tracks from my apartment lies the 北見しんきん (Bank of Kitami).

It is the only modern architecture to be found among the drab and decaying buildings that make up my city. My office, called the Parabo building, might actually be the biggest eyesore in town.

Kitami Shinkin is covered in color-changing LEDs, and reminds me of a miniature version of the Amtrak building, which often lights up with Philadelphia team colors and logos. I can see it glowing in the distance on the bus coming home from Sapporo, much like I used to see the faraway sparkle of the Amtrak building while driving south on 95.

While riding my bike home from Koizumi Junior High last week, I spotted another familiar Philly landmark, albeit a bit bastardized in usage. The Love Park symbol is being used for some kind of Pachinko (Japanese gambling parlors) campaign called “Love Juggler and Love Sea Story.” Interesting…

I’ve also seen the LOVE Park symbol on student’s pen cases and notebooks.

Even at work, I bump into things that take me back to Philly, like…

A poster for La Salle High School in Hakodate. I did a double-take when I spotted this at one of my junior high schools.

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